In 2006 Vea graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Visual Arts, majoring in Sculpture with minors in Moving Image and Painting. She then went on to complete a Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts in 2007 also at the University of Auckland. In 2013 Vea was Art Director and Actor for the short film Broken Silence which was a Sir Peter Jackson Choice finalist at the V48 Hours Film Festival. In 2011 Vea was nominated for the Asia Pacific
Vea’s film practice is influenced by themes of identity springing from her multicultural Tongan and Scottish/English heritage. Vea’s work is further influenced by her upbringing, spending much of her time between a farm in the Waikato and living in Tonga. Her works currently focus on the environmental, political and social events that plague Tonga, particularly looking at the Ha’apai Island group, which is where her family originally hails from.
Vea’s 2007 installation Who will douse the kingdom? featured a combination of personal documentation and confiscated footage Vea obtained of the actual event and aftermath of the 2006 Nuku’alofa riots. The riots which took place in the Tongan capital of Nuku’alofa were initially fuelled by frustration with the Legislative Assembly of Tonga who were perceived to have neglected enforcing promised policies which would have enabled a democratic government. Who will douse the kingdom was exhibited at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts. The installation was one iteration of a trilogy of digital kava circles. The films on television monitors were placed in a circular formation, interacting and discussing varying viewpoints as a community would in a traditional kava circle.
Vea has exhibited in a number of group and solo exhibitions including: The Time of Useful Consciousness—Political Ecology Now, The Dowse, 2017; Tonga ‘I Onopooni: Tonga Contemporary, South Island Tour, 2015; Mai Pasifika Film Festival(co-curator), Sunshine Melbourne, 2015; Over the Line, Northart Gallery, Auckland, 2014; Tauhi Vā the art of socio-spacial relation, Fresh Gallery Otara, Auckland, 2014;Tonga ‘I Onopooni: Tonga Contemporary, Pataka Museum, Wellington, 2014; Tongan to the Bone, OtaraCube, Otara, 2013; No’o Fakataha, Atenisi University, Tonga, 2013; Matala No’o Fakataha, Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland, 2012; ‘Au Mei Moana, Kava Kuo Heka Festival, Tonga, 2010; Date Line: Contemporary Art of the Pacific, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, 2008 and Who Will douse the kingdom?, Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Auckland, 2007.